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MAKING AMERICA WORK: ALFRED P. MURRAH PROFESSORSHIP INAUGURAL LECTURE* - page 2 / 20

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54

OKLAHOMA LAW REVIEW

[Vol. 60:53

extraordinaire. I also want to thank J. Hugh Roff, Jr., for his generosity in funding the Alfred P. Murrah Professorship. Of note, Mr. Roff started his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Alfred P. Murrah.

It is truly a pleasure to honor the memory of Judge Alfred P. Murrah today. Orphaned as a young boy, by age thirteen, young Alfred was hopping freight trains and traveling across the country.1 In 1917, a railroad policeman in Tuttle booted him off the train, and the rest is history.2

A kindly farmer gave young Alfred a home in exchange for farm work and gave him the chance to go to school.3 Alfred worked his way through high school, and then he worked his way through college and law school at the University of Oklahoma.4 He hung out his shingle in Seminole, built a law practice, and at the ripe old age of thirty-two, Alfred P. Murrah was the youngest man in history to be appointed as a federal judge.5 He went on to become Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.6

Is this a great state or what? Indeed, our motto is labor omnia vincit — labor conquers all things.

My wife, Lani, and I have been in Oklahoma for more than twenty-one years. We are proud to call it home, and like Alfred P. Murrah and so many of you, we share a belief in the importance of work.

Work. Hard work! And plenty of it. That’s what has made the United States into the world’s foremost economic superpower. Although the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, our economy accounts for more than 28% of the world’s production. There are more than 150 million Americans in the civilian workforce, and our unemployment rate tends to hover around 5%. In fact, our unemployment rate is typically lower than that of most other industrialized nations, and our labor force participation rate — 66% in 2005 — is higher.

To be sure, the United States has been blessed with magnificent and abundant resources. But ultimately, the economic success of America is about the hard work of Americans, and about a government that generally has had the good sense to stay out of their way. In just over two centuries, Americans have built

1. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, From Rail to Robe: Alfred P. Murrah, http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/secondary.php?section=5&catid=146&id=85 (last visited Mar. 23, 2007).

2. 3. 4. 5. 6 .

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